Power of Film Brings Awareness of Rare Disease

Films can be entertaining. But they can also do much more. Films can educate. Film can also be a powerful medium for advancing social causes. If used right, film can change the world.

The power of film was unleashed last week at the Rome Film Festival, this time helping children with a rare disease. The documentary, The Dark Side of the Sun, raises awareness of the rare disease Xeroderma Pigmentosum (XP).

XP is a rare genetic condition. Persons with XP cannot be exposed to sunlight or they will quickly develop skin damage leading to cancer. XP sufferers cannot go outside during the daylight hours and must even avoid certain types of lights. A charity to support patients with XP was started by Caren and Dan Mahar in 1995.

Since 2005 I have done a number of articles on this outstanding organization. The XP Society runs Camp Sundown, where children with the disease can have a typical camp experience, taking place at night.

Camp Sundown in New York (photo courtesy of the XP Society)It is Camp Sundown that was the focus of The Dark Side of the Sun. A press release states, “Three years of professional filming, creativity and editing went into capturing the delight of children with a rare disease known as Xeroderma pigmentosum (XP) at the special light-protected world of Camp Sundown.”

Camp Sundown depends on donations to keep running. Tough times with the economy have made this an even bigger challenge. When Hurricane Irene struck a couple of months ago, Camp Sundown sustained damage. Donations are needed for patient support and for research into a cure, which could potentially lead to advances in finding a cure for all cancers.

The Dark Side of the Sun is produced by an Italian film company, Citrullo International. You can view the trailer here. Following this premiere, it is expected that the film will be distributed in the U.S. and elsewhere.

Article first published as Power of Film Brings Awareness of Rare Disease on Blogcritics Magazine.

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